25% through* - what have we learnt?
Remember when we used to be allowed to bump elbows - ah, happy days!
So, we've all done lockdown for one week of the (hopefully) four weeks. What has struck you about this experience?
When I was talking to people outside of my bubble, I asked them what they have been discovering through this time. Common themes I heard were:
1) Play to your preferences. I've learnt if I don't talk to people outside of my bubble every day, I go a little cray cray. Yes, I'm an extrovert. One of the people I made talk to me is a strong introvert. She told me she's feeling so much more productive, energised and creative by not having to go in to work every day and by being able to limit her interactions with others.
2) Be kind to others. My call with my introvert colleague was a short call, I didn't want to bring a tiring energy into her bubble.
3) Being on video all day is exhausting. When you're sitting together in a meeting room (remember that?) you can pull into and out of the conversation, as appropriate. However, when you're sitting on a video looking into a wall of faces seemingly staring at you, it can feel much more intense and almost as if you are "presenting" even when you're not speaking. Remember, in reality, we are all looking at ourselves, wondering if we should have brushed our hair before this video call.
4) There are pleasures to be had. One of my clients, who has four children at home, told me that she is finding it frustrating, distracting and guilt-ridden to be trying to work from home. But she is also really enjoying that she and her children are all having breakfast together every morning, instead of frantically racing around trying to find sports gear and lunches in order to get out the door. "Breakfast with the kids" has started going on her gratitude list each day.
5) We have to actively organise ourselves. I've seen pictures of kanban boards, VMBs, online schedules for tasks and other tips and tricks we use to organise ourselves. A common theme seemed to be that we've felt a bit unclear about what we need to achieve and that by using these simple tools, it helps us know that we are achieving goals and driving our performance in a thoughtful way, rather than just reacting. And this helps to create a sense of satisfaction in our work.
6) We've been through this before. Or something similar at least. In New Zealand, schools were closed in 1947 and 1949 due to the outbreak of polio, in an effort to flatten the curve and limit the contagion. Children were kept at home and communities were fearful of getting ill. A number of people I spoke to mentioned that we have come through similar tough things before and we will come through this one too. It might look different from what it previously looked like, but different isn't necessarily a bad thing, right?
What have you discovered through this weird experience? Please do comment, they help extrovert-me feel energised (and it might help someone else to get through).
One last thing I've discovered, Jordan Watson speaks for all of us.
*Yes, I know this might go on for longer than four weeks. I can't control that and no one can give me factual evidence that's the case, so I'm not worrying about it.